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Are food web structures well represented in isotopic spaces ? [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : connectance, isotopic functional indices, niche model, omnivory, virtual ecology

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

1.Isotopic analyses are increasingly used to assess the structure of food webs and a series of isotopic functional indices have been proposed in the last decade to characterize this structure. These indices are based on the foundational assumption that proximity in the isotopic space informs on trophic similarity between species. While it has been recognized for long that this simplifying assumption should be used with caution, no formal evaluation of its domain of validity has been performed to date.
2.We here simulate a large number (15,000) of food webs with varying characteristics to assess i) whether isotopic distance is a good proxy of trophic dissimilarity ; ii) whether isotopic functional indices are good proxies of trophic functional properties ; and iii) how the quality of these two proxies depend on various species and food web properties.(...)

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